Monday, 18 April 2011

Wills and Kate shop windows

There's an optician in Muswell Hill that always has themed displays in papier mache. They had an impressive one for the election last year, and they've done it again for the royal wedding. Loving the corgies!

I saw the most alarming one so far today, in a Thai restaurant in Crouch End. I'm sure Kate will be thrilled...

Year of pleasure #11: Pretty socks

I've been on a bit of a downer over the past few weeks, not sure why really just lots of things getting on top of me (house moving getting nowhere, juggling finances, lack of sleep). I'm having a proper little pity party today!

It means the little things that wouldn't normally annoy me make me so irate! It took me an hour this morning just to tidy the house for today's viewings - not clean, no dusters or bathroom spray were involved, just picking up things and putting them away. It doesn't really matter but I was stomping around the house swearing profusely under my breath. Ella must have thought I'd gone mad!

Two things cheered me up - my lovely mum 'babysitting' Ella over the phone while I dashed round (thanks Mum!) and putting on these pretty cherry socks. Weird how something seemingly inconsequential can make me smile and completely change my mood. Yay socks!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wolverine, by Leinil Yu

Leinil Yu is the smiliest, nicest man in comics. I asked if he was doing sketches or just signing, and he signed my book for me with a quick sketch, apologising profusely all the while that he wasn't doing sketches. What a sweetie! It might be just a quicky but I'd love to be able to sketch like that in five seconds.

Check out Leinil Yu on DeviantArt and at his art dealer's site.

Batman, by Michael Lee-Graham

Lovely man, lovely drawing, just generally lovely.

Hulk, by Paul Davidson

I think this represented how he was feeling at the time - if you have a raging hangover the last place you want to be is sat at a desk in a brightly lit, over-air conditioned conference hall having to engage with occasionally intense fanboys (and girls). Nice job though.

Paul Davidson's website is here.

Batman, by Simon Bisley

The man is a genius, just open and honest and sweary and lovely (and he'd probably shout me down for saying so). He drew upside down in my book, which may have been due to the amount of Stella he'd consumed but still, it has a nice batlike ring to it.

More Simon Bisley here.

Batman, by Sean Phillips

Mark went for the full painting but I like my Sean Phillips black and white sketch.

Batman, by Craig Wilson

Craig drew one of my favourite Batmen (can that be plural?). I love his take on Red Riding Hood too. Check out his work and follow his blog for more pieces.

Batman, by Kev Crossley

Lovely bloke, happy to chat, drew some amazing pieces over the weekend. Check out his artwork over on The Art of Kev Crossley.

Batman, by Dan Francis

Dan is a student training to work in 3D video gaming, but he still drew me a cool Batman.

Batman, by Philip Johnson (he apologised for the crap Bat symbol bless him)

More from Philip Johnson at DeviantArt.

Domino, by Filipe Andrade

Check out Filipe Andrade's blog for more.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Sean Phillips flick book

How to draw the White Queen in seven easy steps!

There are more photos in the seequence but I didn't want to bore you so I'll post them to my Flickr stream instead. Check out Sean's blog and website for more of his work.

The finished product.


Last weekend we drafted in both sets of grandparents and spent the weekend geeking it up at Mark Millar's Kapow! comic con, the first of its kind in London. It was lots of fun, although I severely underestimated the length of time we would spend queueing (next time I'm taking a flask of strong coffee and a copy of War and Peace). I think the organisers underestimated how long fanboys would be willing to queue, too - bigger venue next year please!

I made it to a couple of the Marvel panels, although I don't know enough to be particularly excited by any of the announcements. The most surreal sight of the weekend wasn't the people in costume (although there were a few!) but X-Men editor Nick Lowe and writer Kieron Gillen in Prince Harry (yes, Harry) and Kate Middleton masks. Very disturbing.

And I saw the debut episode of Falling Skies, Steven Spielberg's new TV series (a fairly generic take on the band-of-survivors genre, but if you think the only thing missing from The Walking Dead is aliens then it's for you).

But my favourite part of the weekend was wandering through Artists' Alley and watching the artists at work. Some of them were big names (Brian Bolland anyone?) and some of them were just starting out but it was a pleasure to watch the creative juices flowing (or not - there were a few hangovers going around on Sunday morning).

I got some Batman sketches from various artists (and a Hulk from Paul Davidson - I mentioned hangovers, right?), which I'll post separately. Mark gave me a little sketch book to carry round, so they're only small pieces.

Mark however went for the big sketches, and got two incredible pieces, by Marvel artist Filipe Andrade and Sean Phillips, who spent the entire weekend drawing and painting for fans and was by far the hardest working man there. Incredible the sort of artwork he can knock out in fifteen minutes! It really was a joy to watch.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Mama's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin'...

Ella was six months old last week. How did she get here so quickly?! With Logan the early days really seemed to drag but this time round I can't believe she's so grown up already. She's already starting to lose her baby ways, sitting up, desperate to crawl.

And we've started weaning, which is such a milestone. So far so good! Ella has inherited the Stoddard appetite and hasn't turned her nose up at anything so far (although it's spinach tomorrow so we'll see!).

There's so much conflicting information out there about weaning. As with so much else around baby-rearing, numerous experts feel the need to weigh in with advice on how our children should be raised, creating yet another stick with which to beat new mothers (and fathers) over the head.

If you wean too early (before the magical six-month mark) or too late (after the magical six-month mark) you're risking dangerous food allergies or depriving your little one of essential nutrients which, if you believe some commentators, is tantamount to child abuse.

The thing is, every baby is different. They develop at different speeds, and what is right for one won't be right for another. The six-month marker is just a guideline; what's more important is knowing your child and recognising the cues she gives you that she is ready for food. Trust in your instincts and in yourself, because only you really know what your baby needs, and when.